As I am writing this article, I am in sunny, warm Ohio (and no it’s not because my couch is on fire – I’m not in Columbus); by the time this article is posted, I’ll be in Curacao.
Between December 17, 2011 and January 9, 2012, there are 24 days, but 35 bowl games. Some say there are too many bowl games (like who/what is Gildan and why are they sponsoring the New Mexico Bowl when they are a Canadian company?). Some will be outdoor cold weather games, like the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Military Bowl, and New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Some cities will host more than one bowl game, like New Orleans (New Orleans Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and BCS Championship Game) and San Diego (Poinsettia and Holiday Bowls). Finally, some states seem to have a corner on the bowl market, like Florida (St. Petersburg , Champs Sports, Outback, Capital One, Gator, and Orange Bowls) – 6, Texas (Alamo, Armed Forces, Texas, Sun, TicketCity, Cotton Bowls) – 6, California (Poinsettia, Holiday, Fight Hunger, and Rose Bowls) – 4, and Louisiana (New Orleans Bowl, Independence, Sugar, and BCS Championship) – 4.
During the regular season, the Upset Watch reviewed picks from the previous week, noted the bad picks, and pointed out a few games to give the underdog some credit in, even if it was only in Vegas. It also looked at one or two sure-fire favorites (two when Michigan wasn’t playing).
Because this is the bowl season (and our last hurrah for the 2011-2012 regular season), we’ll cover each of the bowl games, splitting them up by week.
Be sure to check out my website, Before Visiting the Sportsbook, throughout the week, for more content.
@ New Mexico State (4-9) +14.0 Utah State (7-5). Result: Utah State 24 New Mexico State 21.
Michigan State (10-3) +9.5 Wisconsin (11-2). Result: Wisconsin 42 Michigan State 39 [Props to jrt336 and Trebor for correctly predicting that Michigan State would cover].
West Virginia (9-3) -1.0 @ South Florida (5-7). Result: West Virginia 30 South Florida 27 [Props to jrt336 and BrewCityBlue for correctly predicting that West Virginia would cover].
Syracuse (5-7) +13.0 @ Pittsburgh (6-6). Result: Pittsburgh 33 Syracuse 20.
Troy (3-9) +17.5 @ Arkansas State (10-2). Result: Arkansas State 45 Troy 14.
@ Florida Atlantic (1-11) +11.5 Louisiana-Monroe (4-8). Result: Louisiana-Monroe 26 Florida Atlantic 0.
Wyoming (8-4) -5.0 @ Colorado State (3-9). Result: Wyoming 22 Colorado State 19.
Trebor added in LSU (-13.5, 42-10), besides his Michigan State pick.
Bosch picked up a win with Southern Miss (+12.5, 49-28).
BrewCityBlue added in 6(!) more, besides the West Virginia pick, with THE Ohio University (+3.5, 20-23), Oklahoma State (-3.5, 44-10), Baylor (-1.5, 48-24), Southern Miss, and LSU.
Number 7 was on the LSU pick, too.
Only three bowl games will take place between now and the next Upset Watch, which will be on December 20th (we’ll have six bowls on the next Watch). Temple earned an at-large selection to the New Mexico Bowl (since the PAC-12 didn’t fill their bowl allotment) to face the #4 selection from the Mountain West #4, Wyoming, on Saturday (2:00 PM EST/ESPN). The Idaho Bowl will pair Ohio University, the #3 selection from the MAC, against Utah State, the #2 selection from the WAC (5:30 PM EST/ESPN). The final game on Saturday is in New Orleans, with San Diego State, an at large selection since Conference USA did not fill their bowl allotment, against Louisiana-Lafayette, the top choice from the Sun Belt (9:00 PM EST/ESPN).
Temple (8-4) -6.0 Wyoming (8-4) (@ Albuquerque, NM). The Owls are 67th in total offense (7th rushing, 117th passing); Wyoming is 48th (32nd rushing, 73rd passing). Temple is 15th in total defense (26th rushing, 19th passing); the Cowboys are 98th (115th rushing, 34th passing). These two teams last met in 1990, with Wyoming winning 28-23. Temple is 1-2 all time in bowl games (1-1 ATS; 1-1 ATS underdog). Wyoming is 6-6 all time in bowl games (2-3 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS; 3-2 ATS underdog). Wyoming Coach Dave Christensen is 18-19 (21-14-1 ATS, 16-8-1 ATS as an underdog); Temple Coach Steve Addazio is 8-4 (8-4 ATS, 6-4 ATS as a favorite). Temple is 6-4 ATS as a favorite this year (8-4 overall ATS); Wyoming is 5-2 ATS as an underdog this year (7-5 overall ATS). Temple’s last bowl game was the 2009 EagleBank Bowl, a 30-21 loss to UCLA; Wyoming’s last bowl game was the 2009 New Mexico Bowl, in Albuquerque, a 35-28 win over Fresno State. Take Temple to cover the points.
Ohio University (9-4) +3.0 Utah State (7-5) (@ Boise, ID).The Aggies are 20th in total offense (6th rushing, 95th passing); Ohio University is 21st (24th rushing, 39th passing). Utah State is 50th in total defense (32nd rushing, 76th passing); the Bobcats are 42nd (30th rushing, 67th passing). These two teams last met in 1994, with Utah State winning 5-0. Ohio University is 0-5 all time in bowl games (0-3 ATS; 0-2 ATS underdog). Utah State is 1-4 all time in bowl games (0-1 ATS; 0-1 ATS underdog). Ohio University Coach Frank Solich is 49-40 (46-38 ATS, 21-16-1 ATS as an underdog) at Ohio; Utah State Coach Gary Anderson is 15-21 (19-16 ATS, 5-11 ATS as a favorite). Utah State is 2-6 ATS as a favorite this year (6-6 overall ATS); Ohio University is 2-1 ATS as an underdog this year (6-7 overall ATS). Utah State’s last bowl game was the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl, in Boise, a 35-19 loss to Cincinnati; Ohio University’s last bowl game was the 2010 New Orleans Bowl, a 48-21 loss to Troy. Take Ohio University to cover the points, and win.
San Diego State (8-4) -4.5 Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4) (@ New Orleans, LA). The Aztecs are 35th in total offense (28th rushing, 64th passing); Louisiana-Lafayette is 65th (86th rushing, 40th passing). San Diego State is 57th in total defense (82nd rushing, 31st passing); the Ragin’ Cajuns are 72nd (55th rushing, 92nd passing). These two teams have never met before. Louisiana-Lafayette is in their first ever bowl game. San Diego State is 2-4 all time in bowl games (2-1-1 ATS in last 5; 1-1 ATS as a favorite). Louisiana-Lafayette Coach Mark Hudspeth is 8-4 (8-4 ATS, 4-0 ATS as an underdog); San Diego State Coach Rocky Long is 61-50 (54-51-2 ATS, 25-26 ATS as a favorite) since 2001. San Diego State is 3-5 ATS as a favorite this year (5-7 overall ATS); Louisiana-Lafayette is 7-0 ATS as an underdog this year (8-4 overall ATS). San Diego State’s last bowl game was the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl, a 35-14 win over Navy. Take San Diego State to cover the points.
Who ya got?